UCHealth employees pay it forward

Employees believe enough in what they do to give back to their coworkers
Dec. 2, 2015

UCHealth is known for its excellent and compassionate patient care, but what is less widely known is the compassion its employees show each other.

“We tell a different story,” said Anna Smoot, giving officer for the PVH & MCR Foundation, the philanthropic arm of UCHealth Northern Colorado. “What we show is an employee base that believes enough in what they do to give back to where they work. That is a beautiful thing.”

So far in 2015, more than 320 employees have donated to the Employee Emergency Assistance Fund; 333 donors have given each pay period to help advance local cancer care; and more than 20 employees have donated to help bring a new baby grand piano to Medical Center of the Rockies’ main lobby.

And there is more. The foundation’s partner, Women Investing in Strategies for Health, currently has 22 employee members. This May, 33 UCHealth employees were awarded more than $38,000 in scholarships because of donations from other employees.

Employees have many opportunities to give, and they do so graciously, Smoot said. In 2014, employee donations totaled more than $260,000, and for every employee dollar donated, Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies contributed 50 cents.

“The reasons why people get involved are very personal, but they also are very broad,” Smoot said.

One campaign in its seasonal kickoff is the Giving Tree Program.

“Each year nearly 300 children of UCHealth employees in northern Colorado benefit from the Giving Tree Program, which provides a $25 gift card per child,” Smoot said.

As part of that program, employees’ children also have the opportunity to receive a bike for Christmas. The bike program was started eight years ago by PVH EMS paramedic Dave Schmillen as a way to show his young son the importance of giving. The program gained steam, joined the Giving Tree Program, and last year, about 35 children were gifted bikes.

“To me, it’s one of my favorite programs. It’s just a great moment in philanthropy,” Smoot said about the EMS bike program.

Employees who want to donate to the Giving Tree Program can either pull a tag from a tree located at a number of UCHealth Northern Colorado locations, purchase a gift card and return it to the foundation, or make a gift at supportinghealth.org (select “other” and write in “giving tree”).

Applications and donations for the Giving Tree Program are due by Dec. 16. Visit supportinghealth.org to contribute to any of the foundation’s other funds.

“Thank you for sharing this wonderful opportunity with your employees and for helping us open the door to a happier holiday for every UCHealth employee,” Smoot said.

About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.